Charlie Lowell: "We always seem to be looking for Heaven outside and around us, when eternity has been written on our hearts, and we can access it just by knowing what’s inside us."
From the band’s earliest days to the present, innovation has marked each step of Jars of Clay’s musical journey, with The Long Fall Back To Earth serving as no exception. It’s a big, lush, confident, gutsy sound that dominates the new tracks, leaving the listener with a different thought for each new story told, each new emotion conveyed.
As with all previous Jars of Clay projects, it’s the lyrical content that draws listeners into a fuller appreciation of the songs. Lead vocalist/lyricist Dan Haseltine delves into the bare bones reality of the beauty and tension of relationships, and what makes them worth fighting for, a common thread that has tied everyone exposed to Jars of Clay’s music together for more than a decade.
I got the great opportunity to interview Charlie and Matt about “Heaven", the current single from the new album, before one of their shows. You can listen to our entire interview here:
“Heaven” talks about finding what’s glowing, growing and showing on the inside. Would you please share any personal application of what that searching has been like for you as a Christian?
I think heaven can be an elusive thing to think about and write about as a Christian. We sometimes think about a new heaven and a new earth. This song is from the angle that eternity is placed in the hearts of men. Heaven tells us when there is an injustice and maybe why we have a reaction to injustice. We wanted to write a song that reflects how our hearts have that reaction. The more we learn about ourselves and our identity in Christ, the idea of heaven being in us helps Christ show a little brighter in our actions.
Please tell me the story behind writing this song?
“Heaven” is one of the earlier songs we wrote for the record. It was heavily influenced by the 80’s music we all grew up with. Lyrically, we love it because we always seem to be looking for Heaven outside and around us, when eternity has been written on our hearts, and we can access it just by knowing what’s inside us and what we come alive to as we live our lives.
Please tell me about any scripture verses that you used to write the song?
Ecclesiastes 3:10-12:I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
What do you consider to be the takeaway message for listeners?
I think in sort of a strange way, we try to mimic our Creator God when we create a song. In a similar way, when we participate in missions or help build a school, maybe in a small way we participate in a little bit of restoration like we’ll all experience one day in Heaven. For us, our work with Blood Water Mission with our brothers and sisters in Africa, is one way we stay close to the groaning and suffering of this world and are reminded that one day God will make all things new.
Go undercover, we drop from the screens
We're hunters and lions, we are submarines
Under the surface, slip through the wires
Decipher the code words, disable the liars
AND FIND, GLOWING ON THE INSIDE
WHAT'S GROWING ON THE INSIDE
HEAVEN'S NOT THAT FAR
GLOWING ON THE INSIDE
SHOWING ON THE INSIDE
IT'S GROWING WHERE WE ARE
We shatter devices, exit the stage
We stop masquerading, to rattle the cage
We face every searchlight at places we hide
We dress up for Eden, the gates open wide
We are, we are, we are
We're hunters and lions
We go undercover, we cover, we cover
Charlie concluded with his thoughts about worship, and for many people that means singing. For Jars of Clay, since singing is tied in to their career and how they make money, missions, responding to God’s love and acting on it is their act of worship. This song is a great opportunity to reflect on how as we long for eternity we can show others how Christ lives in our hearts by responding to injustice and show what’s “glowing on the inside.”
Posted February 02, 2010 | Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
Joel Houston's ZION Tuesday, June 18, 2013 Hillsong UNITED's principle songwriters talks with NRT's Marcus Hathcock in part one of this two part interview.